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PA's reaction to deer opener

Jack Danchak - Columnist
Posted 1/14/21

Several changes greeted Pennsylvania hunters this hunting season, which for the second year in a row the deer firearms season opened on a Saturday, but this year remained open on the following Sunday …

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PA's reaction to deer opener

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Several changes greeted Pennsylvania hunters this hunting season, which for the second year in a row the deer firearms season opened on a Saturday, but this year remained open on the following Sunday for the first time ever.

In addition concurrent buck and doe hunting was opened in more wildlife management units to start the season, and the response from hunters varied throughout the state.

Stan Haire from Erie County said,” I'm okay with the Saturday opener, I like it. But I could take or leave the Sunday. I heard a lot of shots and saw a lot of deer on both days that tells me a lot of people were in the woods moving deer.”

Miller Stella from Luzerne County said things were very quiet on his farm where he hunts. He counted only five gun shots on Saturday, and Sunday was silent. He believes the reason why hunter participation was down in his area is because many hunters had to work on Saturday which is a busy retail day and kids were busy with sports activities.

Stella went on to say, if it was up to him, he would do away with the entire opening weekend, shift the start back to a Monday and then keep the deer season open on the following Sunday. It would bring back the traditional Monday opener and allow the season to continue uninterrupted through the following weekend.

Dave Aumen from Lycoming County said hunter turnout was less than last year on Saturday but increased noticeably on Sunday. “In the morning there were cars all over but the number of shots was way down and by 9 AM most of the hunters left the woods. In the afternoon, I didn't see many vehicles in the parking lots for hunters.”

Amen continued to say, that Sundays provide more hunting opportunities for hunters but he doesn't support the concept for a couple of reasons. From the standpoint that deer are really getting pressured these days, giving them a day off was a good thing. I'm also a Christian, so I have mixed feelings about Sunday hunting.”

Mark Zimmerman, a deer processor from Westmoreland County, said there was a lot of deer brought to his butcher shop on the first Saturday and Sunday during the two-week deer season. Last year on the opening Saturday hunters brought in 55 deer and this year the number rose to 105, followed by 80 more on Sunday.

Zimmerman concluded, “I think most hunters around here enjoyed the Saturday and Sunday opening weekend. It was another chance for them to get out. And in this area, if more does can get harvested that's a good thing. There are too many deer around here right now.”

There were pros and cons and many mixed feelings from other hunters throughout the state about the firearms deer opening weekend.

Sad news to report, Don Kobiela, formerly of Sullivan County, passed away. Don was a member of our bass club for many years. Many of us remember his outstanding fishing program on WSUL radio. Condolences to his family.

Jack Danchak is the President of the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County.

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